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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Unified Licensing: Ndukwe reassures on transparency

... post ULR forum underway

By Remmy Nweke

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has reassured telecommunications operators in the country and those interested in the current allocation of third generation (3G) licenses, that the commission would remain transparent.

ITRealms Online recollects that NCC early last week released the list of the first batch licensees for the take of operation since the floor was opened March 1 for the Unified Licensing Regime (ULR), including Starcomms, MultiLink, Intercellular and Prestel.

This is coming as IT & Telecom Digest has advanced plans to organize a post-Unified Licensing Regime (ULR) forum.

He said in a chat with newsmen weekend that through some GSM operators have expressed interest on the unified licensing, they are yet to apply formally.

“_Expression of interest is not the same as in submission of application to support the _expression,” he noted.

He was optimistic that any of the GSM operators that apply for UL would scale through because based on the prerequisites, interested parties should either have the financial capability to implement or have the technology and relevant subscriber base to back it up, which must not be less than 10,000.

Reassuring on the transparency on the part of the Commission, Dr. Ndukwe said that the list released fortnight ago were only ones that have applied and were successful.

Whoever is applying, he said, must undergo due diligence process of the commission either on the 3G or unified licenses.

Unified license is not an utopian that is not reachable, he declared.

Meanwhile, organizers of ULR forum recently, IT & Telecom Digest has commended NCC for granting four Unified Licences to Multilinks, Intercellular, Starcomms and Prestel.

According to Mkpe Abang, chief host of the forum, plans have been advanced to host stakeholders to another round now that ULR has taken off practically with some of the licenses issued.

“The Nigerian Communications Commission has proved again with this latest step that it is a focused, forthright and committed regulator whose interest is the creation of opportunities for growth in Nigeria, for Nigerians and whoever does business in and with Nigerians,” he said.

He therefore congratulated the four telcos for being the first licensees, noting that on February 27, 2006, IT & Telecom Digest, in conjunction with the NCC, organised the Stakeholders’ Forum on Unified Licensing Regime.


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